Pilar found her love of fitness as a Broadway dancer, having sustained injuries from dancing 8 shows a week. Physical therapy led to learning the benefits of functional training, helping the body stay at its peak through all stages of life. She is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.), holding group fitness certifications in bodyART, HIIT, and barre formats, and has trained clients from age 19 to age 93 in a small private practice.
Pilar also holds a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and has ministered to multi-ethnic, multicultural communities in New York City with an emphasis on the relationship between faith and justice.
She believes strongly in the synthesis between physical and mental wellbeing, so is grateful to bring those two together through Bob Marley's message of a world in which universal human rights becomes not just a dream, but a way of life for all.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
What form of fitness do you teach?
I primarily teach what’s called functional training - meaning taking everyday moves that our bodies have to perform, like squatting, lunging, pressing, rotating, and adding weights or a cardiovascular element to make the body stronger and more flexible for everyday life!
What does your exercise do for you - outside and inside?
Exercise is something that grounds my body so that I feel more energized and more alive - and at the same time, it helps to regulate my sense of calm and ease. In very challenging seasons of my my life, movement has acted as a salve for stress relief and given me greater coping capabilities. It’s truly a lifestyle, not just an activity that I know is good for my health.
What is your favorite inspirational or motivational quote?
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman)
What's your favorite reggae song? What does it mean to you?
Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” I was introduced to it as a backup singer for the Haitian artist Herve Coeur, and I always connected to the lyric, ‘how long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?’ I love this lyric as it speaks to the paradox of our desire to live in more just, more kind societies - and yet our constant ability, individually and collectively, to avoid the work that must take place in order to usher in transformation.
What does nature mean to you? How does it inspire you?
When I decided to study theology and ethics as my Master’s focus, I quickly found a beautiful connection between the human cry for liberation, and our creation’s cry for liberation as well. Indigenous cultures generally live this connection, and I believe our challenge in modern technologically advanced societies is basically not to lose this! We are, many of us, a little disconnected from the natural world because of the incredible advancements we’ve come to enjoy. While these advancements are amazing, we also have a responsibility to our current and future generations to leave our natural world intact and thriving - because we cannot exist outside of it. Becoming aware of our vulnerability is an incredible way to reconnect with the earth that has sustained us and will continue to sustain us for generations to come.
How can our natural world help bring people closer to their true natures?
We come from, depend upon, and return to the earth - from birth to death. No matter how many modern delights we might have access to, we all share the common reality that our bodies are utterly dependent on the creation around us. I think finding what is most comforting to you in the natural world, and spending time with it as often as you can manage - works to center ourselves into who we really are, apart from what we're focusing on accomplishing day to day, or whatever stressors are affecting our wellbeing. For me, it's water - I feel most happy and safe when I'm near or in the ocean or another large body of water. It re-energizes and brings me joy.
How can exercise make us stronger human beings, better able to connect with others and embrace everyone's right to thrive?
Exercise is as fundamental to our mental and physical wellbeing as is sleeping, eating, or breathing freely. When our bodies are not well, our capacity for everything else is compromised too. We tend to lose joy, patience, courage, compassion - because our energy is being taken up with physical pain or discomfort. Because exercise - rigorous or gentle - releases endorphins and increases circulation and mobility, we just start to feel better inside as well as out. We become more secure in ourselves, which allows us then to face the experiences of others with a greater capacity for understanding, sympathy, and care.
Why is it important for us to connect with other human beings?
Ha! I love this question, because the alternative is what we see on a day-to-day basis: aggression, isolation, violence and corruption, which results in wars, private and public. We NEED each other. It's a basic human need to connect with others, to find common ground. There's a Zulu word, ubuntu, that sums this up: my humanity is tied to yours...I AM, because of you.
What does the phrase "One World, One Love" mean to you?
It's ubuntu! In other words, we are not free until all of us are free. That's one world. One love. In a universe of exercise platforms, what makes OneFirelight special? It's not only an exercise platform. We acknowledge the tie between our physical and emotional selves, and we embrace treating the whole instead of just one part. I think that to create a lifestyle that you want to sustain for the long run, both parts of ourselves have to be nurtured. And I think we celebrate that here.
In a universe of exercise platforms, what makes OneFirelight special?
It's not only an exercise platform. We acknowledge the tie between our physical and emotional selves, and we embrace treating the whole instead of just one part. I think that to create a lifestyle that you want to sustain for the long run, both parts of ourselves have to be nurtured. And I think we celebrate that here.
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